After another short break in the event’s history, Cherry-Roubaix has been saved, revived, and combined with the long-running Bike Benzie event to keep road events alive in Northern Michigan. Registration is open for the 14th Annual Bike Benzie Grand Fondo, now featuring the Cherry-Roubaix Road Race.
Cherry-Roubaix Moves to Crystal Mountain
Cherry-Roubaix has evolved over the years, reflecting many changing interests in the sport. From a criterium to a three-day event with sprints to a three-day omnium and back to a one-day grand fondo, the event has long sought to find its niche. With two gaps in events, Cherry-Roubaix has, at times, struggled to find the identity other events have captured.
Through its various forms, however, local riders have embraced the event. The race became the state championship in 2019, exploding in popularity and drawing some of the best riders in Michigan for a 62-mile race through Leelanau County
The Evolution of Bike Benzie
So, too, has Bike Benzie. With team time trials and other experiments, the event’s core is as a critical fundraising mechanism for the Benzie Sunrise Rotary. Proceeds from the event of focused on supporting families and organizations in the Benzie area. Specifically, the Rotary invests time and money into supporting kids in the Benzie Central School District.
The Benzie Sunrise Rotary’s many good works make this a non-profit event that you can feel good (and tired) about.
The 62-mile road race starts at 9 am on Saturday, June 4 at Crystal Mountain. Categories 1-4 with race as a combined field, with the women and men’s Cat 5 starting 5 minutes later. A Junior-specific field is also available for kids 18 and under.
While the official route files aren’t available, the cue sheet is live. Heading south from Thompsonville, ridders can expect primarily flat roads through Kaleva. However, there’s hardly a flat mile of road near the Manistee River, with a 20-30 mile stretch of rolling hills along North Coates Highway, through Brethren, and the Manistee National Forest.
It’s also a long, long stretch north into what is normally a strong headwind, which may work against any breakaways formed through the rolling hills.
Go ride. Bike Benzie has arguably the best aid station/pie stops in all of cycling, hosted by volunteers who will simply not let you leave without a snack. There are 15, 32, 45, and 62 mile fondo options for riders of all abilities. All of these routes feature some really beautiful areas of Northern Michigan that more of us need to check out!
What About Less Cancer?
Working with Bike Benzie, we’ve moved the Less Cancer Bike Ride back one week to June 11. We hope you’ll consider taking on both rides to support cycling in our region and contribute to two very deserving organizations in the Benzie Sunrise Rotary and Less Cancer.
How to Register
Registration is open for Bike Benzie/Cherry Roubaix. To sign up for the grand fondo, just hit this.
To register for the road race, however, you’ll need to sign up for the grand fondo first.
- First, register here for the Fondo
- Then, sign up here for the additional road race fee.
- There is also a $ 25 day license fee for riders with lapsed CAT 1-4 licenses and a $10 for CAT 5 non-license holders.
We’ll see you at Crystal Mountain on June 4! (Probably covered in sweat and cherry pie)